When I was younger I loved Playing Brain Training on the Nintendo DS, it was a fun game even though it’s basically another way of doing your homework. It used to be a big thing in my family to see who could get the best times on the different training exercises as well as who could get the better brain age score that was closest to their actually ages, most of the time this was my mother but then again she was a dark horse when it came to games as she was amazing at Tetris too but that’s another story. So when I heard that Dr Kawashima was making his debut on the Nintendo Switch I knew I had to be at the front of the queues to pick this bad boy up.
Brain Training doesn’t really have a massive storyline but this doesn’t mean it isn’t a fantastic game. It takes different mini-games that are designed to help improve your mental processes and that are aimed to stimulate multiple parts of the brain to help improve one’s abilities and combat normal ageing effects on the brain. I’m not a neuroscientist but I believe that since I have been replaying Brain Training it has started to have a knock-on effect with my day to day life because when I’m doing my stocks at work I’m able to do them quicker and more efficiently. Not only this but I feel more switched on and I like that feeling. I do my daily training as it recommends and plays a bit of Sudoku to try and better my times and trying not to make any mistakes, still not 100% there yet but I am close, my times keep getting better, so that’s a success in my eyes.
Mechanically the game is a piece of cake, literally, anyone of any age could play it. Simply set up your profile on the game, so that it can keep track of your progress. Then get stuck in with the daily training and the other mini-games that Brain Training has to offer. You also have a stylus which comes with the game and has a nice soft nib that allows for you to touch the screen of the switch without the worry of damaging the screen. The only issues I noticed were when using the switch undocked it can be too big to hold in one hand imagine it as a huge phone. For me, it isn’t a problem as I have big hands but for someone who has small hands, this might be a problem. When it comes to my writing, the game sometimes has issues picking up some of my numbers which is kind of funny but also frustrating, it’s something over time that can be easily improved and sorted.
Graphically the game doesn’t need over the top cinematics and open-world environments to draw you in, it just needs Dr Kawashima and his many mini-games, the audio for the game is what you’d expect from a Brain Training games, calm and catchy. To be honest, when you’re playing the game the soundtrack and visuals are the least of your worries as you are too busy concentrating on the mini-games and trying to lower your brain age.
The game offers tones of replay value, it encourages you to play it every day and for a certain period of time, this is put in place to ensure you don’t overwork yourself but you are allowed to continue playing past this base time if you see fit. It’s fun to play together with family members to see who can get to the top of the leader boards. The game will eventually open up Brain Training World Championship, which I assume will pit you against other players from around the world, though I can only see this feature being available to people who have Nintendo’s online subscription service. All in all its tones of fun and can be played just about anywhere, I usually play my copy when on my way to work, on breaks or if me and the girlfriend want to see which one of us is the smartest, here’s a hint… it’s not me.
Docked vs Undocked
While docked you are only allowed to play the Quick Play mini-games, these are fun and are best played with friends, family or even your other half. There are a few heads to head mini-games where you have to try and bet whoever you’re playing against, I loved playing these with my partner as we both can be very competitive and trying to get the quickest time with the least amount of mistakes. It is always fun and gets the blood boiling. There is a Rock, Paper, Scissors mini-game where you use the joy-con to detect your hand so that you can make the symbols needed when playing the game to bet or loose against whichever symbol is on the screen, personally for this mini-game and a few others I found that the joy-cons either didn’t register your movement or which symbol you were actually making which lead to making a mistake or taking too much time to answer questions. It was very frustrating and if I’m honest makes me avoid these mini-games altogether.
When undocked you get the full brain training experience as well as a cool and comfortable stylus that can be used to draw on the screen of the switch, basically the same as it used to work on the old DS screens. The added bonus is that if you get a physical copy of the game it comes with its own stylus which is neat because it means you don’t have to go out of your way to buy one. You still have the joy-con mini-games, you just have to put the switch into tablet mode and take the joy-cons off but it’s still the same issue in the sense that the joy-cons don’t register all the time and can be buggy but other than this undocked is the best and only way you should be playing Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training.
Overall, I’m so happy that the switch got Brain Training added to its ever-expanding list of games. For only £29.99 for the game and Stylus, it is affordable and worth every single penny. Like mentioned it’s a game that gets the whole family talking and adds that health competitiveness for those who want to brag about being at the top of the leader boards. Being able to play it anywhere I want is brilliant and having the Stylus makes playing Brain Training so much easier, I mean you could use your finger but it wouldn’t be as comfortable and might cause issues when writing numbers. You don’t have to play it for very long every day and if anything this is the best way to play and get the most out of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training. I can honestly say before this came out I wouldn’t go out of my way to do calculation or play Sudoku but now I can’t go a day without my daily fix of homework if you can call it that and for these reasons, I’m more than happy to give Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training an 8/10.
Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch is available here for 24.49 on the Nintendo eShop
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Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training
Get ready to challenge your brain in a variety of ways in Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch! Enjoy new exercises, some of them making use of the right Joy-Con’s IR Motion Camera*, or tap and train with classic exercises from past Brain Training games that you can play using a stylus (included with the packaged version from retail stores) or your finger. It’s in your hands!
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 24.29